Five takeaways from 13-point win against UCF

Running back DJ Giddens runs past defenders near his offensive line in the 44-31 win over UCF. Giddens had a career night, collecting 207 of his 293 total yards on the ground and scoring four touchdowns. (Elizabeth Sandstrom | Collegian Media Group)

In moments, the Kansas State win over UCF did not look pretty. Sloppiness and poor execution kept the game close. The Wildcats pulled away in the fourth quarter but still left many plays on the field. Nevertheless, the main storyline out of the night was easily running back DJ Giddens.

Takeaway #1: No one looked better than DJ Giddens

No one came out of the game Saturday night looking better than Giddens. Breaking career bests from his predecessor Deuce Vaughn, Giddens totaled 293 yards, 207 coming on the ground. Giddens showed off both power and elusiveness to score four touchdowns with his fellow running back Treshaun Ward out with injury. The Wildcat offense has yet to find a star this season to make game-breaking plays — more performances like this from Giddens can change that thought.

Takeaway #2: Big plays continue to hurt the defense

Even with the victory, the defense left much to be desired. Success in the rush game was limited for UCF but they still had their moments. This included a 48 and 23-yard run from running back Johnny Richardson which put the game at risk. As well as that, the passing defense allowed two big plays in the passing game as quarterback Timmy McClain and wide receiver Kobe Hudson connected on two touchdowns for 120 yards. The issues against Missouri carried over at times in the night, and may hurt the team down the line if it gets out of hand.

Takeaway #3: Will Howard looked surprisingly healthy 

It was not known whether quarterback Will Howard would play tonight due to injury. In the end, Howard played and looked mostly like himself. Outside of a few moments where he appeared to be gimpy, Howard ran and moved with no noticeable issues. The senior threw for 255 yards and ran for 64, including a 31-yard run near the end when he could have slid. Howard looks healthy and ready to go in Big 12 play.

Takeaway #4: Offensive line looks back to expected self

The return of right tackle Christian Duffie was noticeable. Coming in near the end of the first quarter, the unit looked as efficient as ever. Clearing the way for 281 rushing yards, everything was in sync to get to seven yards a carry. On top of that, UCF sacked Howard only once on the night and he did not receive much pressure.

Takeaway #5: Passing offense left plays out on the field

The Wildcats could have gotten more than 44 points on the night. As Howard said he hoped the team could average 50, that mark had the potential to be reached against UCF. The quarterback himself missed a few wideouts down the field on deep plays that just barely missed the receivers’ hands. K-State has hit these for the majority of the season but left some out to keep away from the 50 points.